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Training the New Hire: Positives and Pitfalls

So, you’re in charge of training new hires in your workplace. Here are a few helpful tips to help you keep pace with training new people an ever-changing work environment.

Is your training program easy to understand?

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Ensure your training is updated at least annually.

You interviewed applicants and found one who matches the skill set and attitude for the job opening you are offering. The new hire has seen your operation and knows what is expected. Now, you have to start with the actual training.

Have you kept your training program up-to-date and easy to implement? Your program should be periodically reviewed in each area’s training program with other managers and update them if necessary. Also, when reviewing training programs, ask yourself, “Would I understand this on my first day in a new job?”

Be confident and direct

You have a solid training program, but your new hire still shows signs of confusion during the training. Don’t give up hope. Perhaps it isn’t your new hire that is having trouble with the training session. As a trainer, you are looked at as the expert, which can be a little frightening at times, even for the most seasoned trainer.

Just being skilled and knowledgeable about the job you are demonstrating isn’t enough to effectively train a new hire; you need to be able to communicate instructions with clarity and confidence. To keep my trainer skills sharp, look for opportunities every day to pass on a piece of knowledge or skills, not just in a formal training session. It may be just answering a simple question from a co-worker; adding something to a group of co-workers looking for a solution to a problem; or something similar that doesn’t require set instructions.

Adjust your trainer’s voice to fit the trainee’s attention span

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Take control of the training and get feedback from participants.

Remember how nervous you were during your first training session? I do. Recently, I trained an intern who is confident and very skilled. Yet, early on, I found he retained information more effectively when I slowed the rate of my speech down a little from my normal rate.

Don’t wait for your trainee to tell you to slow down or speed up. Use short pauses when explaining training material to make sure a new hire is still grasping the teaching. It is during the pauses in the training that you can listen closely to the questions or comment (or lack of!) from a trainee.

As a trainer, you have control over the direction and pace of the training program, but what you hear and see from your trainee helps you to alter the rate you deliver your training program when needed to get better response from your trainee.

Allow your trainee to fail during training

As a trainer, you may be tempted to stop your trainee from fumbling during coaching, but refrain from stepping in and trying to save them. Many “what-not-to-do” lessons hold as much learning (sometimes more) as any other training does.

Having experienced the fear of failure myself in past jobs, I know how strong this fear can be in a trainee. Right from the start, I prefer to help a new employee confront and get rid of, as quickly as possible, any anxiety over failing. Once a new employee experiences what happens when things don’t work in training, they know what to look for when they actually start their new job duties.

Schedule rest periods during training sessions

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Frequent breaks will keep training participants on track.

This tip goes along with staying aware of attention spans – both yours and the trainee’s. Don’t waste valuable training time by tiring out yourself or your trainee, but be sure to set regular break times. Some workplace allows breaks every two to three hours which works well for training sessions.

A final thought on this issue. When I happen to take a break with a trainee, I talk about anything, except the training. I use breaks in training to strike up conversations about family, hobbies, etc. Break times during normal work periods are meant for relaxing and re-charging, so let it be the same during a training session.

Relax, be nice…and be yourself!

This is the most important piece of advice I can offer. You enjoy teaching others in the workplace. So, let your trainee see how much you like being a trainer. Be relaxed, warm, and friendly, while staying on track with instructions.

If you were like me in school, I was bored and frustrated with the teacher who barely cracked a smile in class, or hardly ever looked up from his or her desk. This was the teacher who looked uncomfortable, making me uncomfortable being in class. My school experience has taught me to make it a point to try to shed any nervousness or discomfort before starting a training session.

Still, a fast-pace work environment doesn’t always allow for a relaxed state of mind! So, when I need to slow my mind and focus on instructing a new employee, I take a moment to think about something pleasant. I might think about a joke I recently heard or read; an upcoming family event; or a favorite place. Once I have attained a quiet state of mind, I begin every training session with a smile.

Staying relaxed and pleasant during instructing a trainee will help him or her to stay comfortable as well. As a trainer, I see trainees retain far more information and show trust in what they are taught, when they see and hear the passion I have for being a trainer.

Bottom line: show pride in being a trainer and let the real you show through for your trainee to see!

For more information about our Safety Training please contact us!

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November 27, 2008 Posted by | Business, Economy, Education, Health & Safety, OSHA Compliance, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tips for Supervisors: Five Ways to Follow Up on Training

Would you like it if your employees only gave 50% effort or completed half of their tasks?

Well, if you are only scheduling and implementing training sessions for your employees, you are merely employee-trainingdoing half the job. Equally as important as these two steps is the task of following up your training sessions.

Following up involves measuring and evaluating a session’s effectiveness. Doing so will provide you with a benchmark for future sessions as well as give your employees the opportunity to tell you how they would like to change the training subject or format.

Here are five easy steps to follow up your training sessions.

1. At the end of the training session, ask each participant to commit to trying 1-3 new skills. Get the participants to write down the actions and then schedule a follow up meeting to discuss whether theses actions stuck, and why. If you do want to lead this meeting yourself just bring back the original trainer.

2. Shortly after the training, ask each participant to give you a brief summary of the two or three most important points they took away from the training. Consolidate the responses and post them in a popular location for a couple weeks.

If time passes and you see your employees reverting to their old habits, email them their responses along with any more feedback you have received.

small-business3. If appropriate, post facts or statistics related to the training after a session. For example, if your training was on customer service, post the number of sales made per week to show employees how they are improving.

4. A week or two after the training, ask participants how they have changed. If appropriate, post the responses. If participants are saying they haven’t changed, ask why and how the training can be improved next time.

5. Several weeks after a training session, send the participants a quiz related to the training’s content. Post all the responses (but separate the right and wrong answers) and award a prize to the person who does the best. For example, if your training was on speedwriting, ask each participant to write down as many abbreviations they can come up with.

Follow these steps and see the results for yourself. After all, going halfway when it comes to managing your organization’s training only cheats the very employees whose performance you are looking to improve.

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November 25, 2008 Posted by | Business, Economy, Education, Health & Safety, OSHA Compliance, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Maximum Learning – Minimum Investment

How Small Business Can Maximize Training Resources

Fact: Small and medium-sized businesses are forced to operate differently than large businesses due to more limited resources.

Fiction: There is a direct correlation between the amount of those limited resources and the quality of service small and medium-sized businesses are forced to deliver.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) often need to be creative, innovative and just plain smart whentestimonial-ad3 it comes to using resources – especially when it comes to staff training. While the reasons for requiring skill development are usually the same regardless of a business’ size, how those needs are filled can vary greatly. Whereas large businesses can afford to have their own internal training departments, SME’s often rely on external providers such as school board continuing education departments, association professional development events or private training companies.

There is a reason why large businesses have in-house departments dedicated to performance improvement; staff training requires time, money, customized training content and enough employees to make such a department justifiable.

The fact is, SMEs can be wise when devoting resources to staff training, and even take advantage of their sizes. Here are the Top 5 Ways for SMEs to Maximize Training Resources.

1. Implement and promote a program where senior employees can tutor new employees, thereby eliminating knowledge gaps within your business.

2. Pay for your employees’ membership fees in associations. These organizations often host professional development seminars for their members at very reasonable prices.

3. If you feel your employees need training to improve their performance ask them what they feel they need. This ensures that the training you provide will be as effective as possible.

4. Send an employee to learning opportunities, such as conferences, tradeshows or public courses. The employee can then act as an in-house trainer.

5. Budget for training by setting aside a set amount of money that will be used for training when needed – just like saving up for your first car.

If you feel your employees would be better served by a private training company, do your research. Find an organization that will customize its material for your needs and deliver the training at your office when you need it. The training company should also understand the needs of an SME, so ask for references from companies that are similar to yours.

Fact: If SMEs treat their size as a weakness, it will be a weakness. If SMEs treat their size as a strength and use their resources wisely, they can compete with competitors of all sizes.

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November 24, 2008 Posted by | Business, Economy, Education, Health & Safety, OSHA Compliance, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment